David E. Kelley's remake of "Life on Mars" has a strong chance of joining ABC's lineup next season -- albeit possibly without Kelley.
The "Boston Legal" and "Ally McBeal" creator is reportedly reconsidering his involvement with the show, at least in part because of financial matters. However, he would have to approve any deals since he controls the rights to the BBC series about a present-day cop who finds himself transported back to the 1970s.
Meanwhile, the showbiz trade papers report that ABC is talking with the team of Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg about joining "Life on Mars" as executive producers. The trio co-created "October Road" and worked on Showtime's "Going to California" together; Appelbaum and Nemec are also veterans of "Alias."
"Life on Mars" has taken a long road to ABC. Kelley snagged the rights to the show (whose original version has aired on BBC America) in 2006 and was put into development for fall 2007. Kelley and ABC decided, however, to push the project back after having trouble casting a lead actor in the crush of last spring's pilot season.
Jason O'Mara ("The Agency," "Grey's Anatomy") landed the lead role over the summer and was joined by Colm Meaney ("Layer Cake"), Lenny Clarke ("Rescue Me") and Rachelle Lefevre ("What About Brian"). A pilot was shot last summer, but the writers' strike derailed its chances of joining ABC's schedule at midseason.
The show is considered a strong contender to make ABC's 2008-09 schedule. It's one of only a few completed pilots the network has in hand, having opted to push production of others to May and June and concentrate mostly on relaunching returning shows in the fall.
'Mars' Mission May End for David E. Kelley
Show's creator may depart; pickup seems likely
David E. Kelley